Heart disease is one of the top 10 killers of Singaporeans today. Although an affluent lifestyle has been blamed for its increased incidence, genetic / hereditary factors are known to play a part as well. An Electrocardiogram (commonly known as an ECG) is a common non-invasive office procedure used by doctors to study the electrical activity of the heart.
Different patterns of electrical conduction alerts your doctor to different possible underlying heart conditions such as abnormality in rhythms. The patterns of the electrical waves which are printed on a graph can give valuable clues concerning the adequacy of the heart’s coronary circulation. Deficiency in coronary circulation such as seen in Ischaemic Heart Diseases can show up as abnormalities in the wave form of the ECG. Scars from an old heart attack caused by damage to the heart muscles can also be seen on an ECG tracing as an abnormal wave.
The ECG is one of the most valuable tools used by doctors in the emergency room to detect for signs of heart attacks.
The ECG examination is done while at rest and takes less than 10 minutes. A group of electrodes are gently applied to the chest & limbs for the machine to analyse the underlying electrical pattern.
This non-invasive test is therefore considered the bare minimum for the assessment of an individual’s heart health.
However, a resting ECG may not detect early heart disease apparent only during episodes of effort & strain. Therefore further testing via an exercise stress ECG may be necessary.
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